In both My Michael (1972) and Elsewhere Perhaps (1973) Oz has hinted symbolically at a metaphysical extension of...

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TOUCH THE WATER, TOUCH THE WIND

In both My Michael (1972) and Elsewhere Perhaps (1973) Oz has hinted symbolically at a metaphysical extension of contemporary Israeli lives by taking a fleeting cognizance of the curious incongruities of the country itself with its mix of men and myth, soughing wind under limitless skies. Here although he deals in part with stone-hard artifacts like streets and shops, kibbutz halls and shrieking bombs -- he adds a frame of folk/allegorical fantasy. Elisha, the gentle watchmaker's son, recognizes that time is but ""an affectation of the mind"" as he shivers and starves in a Polish forest away from the Nazis. As naturally as Chagall's creatures amusingly solve gravitational entrapment, Elisha levitates -- above ""Germans, forests, huts, ghosts, wolves. . ."" playing mouth organ music in the night. While his wife, Stefa, queen of Polish intellectuals, skims through other implausibilities to become a kind of comic Barbarella of Stalinist officialdom. After several changes of identity, Elisha at last in a kibbutz produces -- among new and old social idealists and eternal crones at their gossip -- a mathematical answer to the problem of infinity. Elisha and Stefa are in the end reunited but then disappear -- to become as insubstantial as any human beings who reach too far off the earth to escape its corrosive veins of evil. A masterful aggregate of philosophical speculation, witty social commentary and solid story telling.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 1974

ISBN: 0156907720

Page Count: -

Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1974